Chinese national faces life-threatening moment in Pakistan over blasphemous remarks

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A Chinese national working at the Dasu hydropower project in Pakistan’s Upper Kohistan faced a life-threatening moment over alleged blasphemous remarks, Pakistan-based Business Recorder reported.

As per initial reports, labourers at the place were enraged because of his grumbling that “precious time” was being lost due to prayer breaks, and an ensuing heated conversation.

Accusing him of making sacrilegious comments, some of the workers fanned out to nearby villages whipping up religious sentiments.

A mob also tried to force its way into the Chinese camp to get hold of the man inside it.

The elders tried to pacify the crowd. The police rushed to the scene and took the man into custody. An FIR was registered against him on blasphemy charges and he was sent to prison on a 14-day judicial remand by an anti-terrorism court in Abbottabad.

He reportedly told a joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the government to investigate the matter, that, “I can’t even contemplate offending sentiments of Pakistanis and Muslims, but whatever I have been facing here is nothing but a lie”, according to Business Recorder.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, his government has always required overseas Chinese citizens to abide by the laws and regulations of the host country and respect local customs.

Meanwhile, the accused man’s local interpreter, on whose testimony the FIR has been lodged, apprised the JIT that he was “doubtful” about the sacrilegious remarks the Chinese man had uttered, according to Business Recorder.

Mere pointing of a finger can lead to horrific consequences. The usual motive is a personal grudge or a property grab, Business Recorder said.

About a year and a half ago, Sri Lankan manager of a Sialkot factory accused of committing blasphemy was beaten to death and his body was set on fire by a mob on the instigation of a disgruntled worker. Before that, a student of Mardan University, similarly accused, was lynched by fellow students for exposing the wrongdoings of university staff.

Then there is the unforgettable ghastly mob lynching of a Christian couple working at a brick kiln near Lahore and burning their bodies in the kiln chimney for the alleged desecration of pages of the holy Quran, the Business Recorder reported

Not long ago, in an incident sparked by the same allegation a huge crowd set homes on fire in a Christian neighbourhood of Gojra, leaving six people, including women and children, dead. It later turned out to be a case of land grab. There have been dozens of such horrendous extra-judicial killings, the report said.

Countless others languish in prisons unable to seek justice in the prevailing environment. Many think that such appalling incidents can be prevented if the man-made blasphemy laws are amended to include punishment for false accusations — vehemently resisted by the religious parties. That though won’t help unless and until the state stops using religion for political purposes, of which there is no sign.

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